Mystery stories appeal to children who are good, poor, and average readers. Gifted students and good readers are drawn to them because they love the challenge of the brainteaser: Who did it? Why? How? They also like to follow along with the characters within the story who are working on the mystery and trying to figure everything out.
The game becomes solving the mystery before the main characters do. Can the reader anticipate how everyone will react when the mystery unfolds?
However, mysteries appeal to the average student and the poor reader, too, even though some slow readers may need a little help with unfamiliar words. Mysteries challenge readers in ways that ordinary stories don’t, and it isn’t a challenge in reading skills – it’s in puzzle solving. Much more fun!
If a parent is helping the child with his reading, even that is more fun when it’s a mystery. You can exchange ideas (without, of course, giving the show away if you are pretty sure you know how it will end). You can read alternate pages or half pages.
And don’t forget to have fun. That means no struggling with sounding out difficult words. Ask the child to name the first letter of the unfamiliar word and the sound that letter makes. Then, supply the word for the child and get on with the story. Repeat the process no matter how many times the child is stumped by the same word. Even when a child learns to read well and it becomes easy, he’ll only read and become a good reader if the process has been fun. You really need to make sure your little reader has a good time.
What Special Appeal Do Real Life Characters Have?
Young readers can identify with real children who have real problems to solve, and that can be a nice change from the many animal characters, cartoon characters, fairytale characters, and other-world characters who inhabit so many stories geared to children nowadays.
In Something’s Missing, Chris, Jaylon, and Rebecca have no fairy dust or zapping machines, and they can’t hide in rabbit holes. They have to rely on observation, logic, and creative thinking to deal with the problems they encounter.
We all love fantasy and it’s entertainment that can be shared by everyone. However, it’s good for children to read about reality, too, since that’s the world in which they live.
Within the sports world, children run into a variety of problems as they do on the playground, in the classroom, or in the family. Young readers can relate to personal issues and enjoy discovering how other children cope with their challenges.
What’s the Charm of a Sports-Mystery?
The beauty of a sports mystery is that it isn’t all about sports, all about mystery, all about friendship, all about risk, all about danger, and all about having special talents and skills. There are no wildly miraculous endings; the game isn’t always won; everyone doesn’t suddenly understand; unpleasant people don’t always come to their senses and change; life goes on. But some problems are resolved and friendships are born or cemented, and a puzzle is solved to everyone’s satisfaction. And those are all good things.
Look for Something’s Missing for sale on Amazon.com within the week, after which, you can order it from your favorite bookstore. If your child enjoys e-book reading, watch for the Kindle version, which follows soon.
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